Nov 30, 2011

A Dairy-Free Christmas: Soy Nog

No comments:

Dairy and egg-free soy nog! No way! Over the past couple weeks I have been experimenting with various soy nog recipes. We've tried banana as a thickening agent (too much banana flavour). We've tried tofu (too gritty no matter how much it's blended). Then we tried making it with a coconut milk. BINGO! I finally concocted a soy nog recipe that my whole family loves.

Before I share this recipe, I do want to emphasize that when substituting for something with such a distinct flavour such as egg nog, it is very challenging to replicate the taste exactly. However, if you haven't had regular egg nog this season (or for a few years), you wouldn't know the difference. The trick is in the combination of spices. Enjoy!

Homemade Soy Nog

The Ingredients
1 can of full fat coconut milk (well chilled)
1 1/2 cups of vanilla soy milk (we love the flavour of the organic vanilla Silk)
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 whole cloves
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
ice

The Process
Place all of the ingredients (except the ice) in the blender and blend well. Serve over ice with an extra dash of nutmeg on top. Yum!



Have you seen my other Dairy-Free Christmas recipes?
Check them out here:

Ginger Snaps
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Shortbread Cookies


Click Here To Read More

Nov 28, 2011

Winter Activities For Children

3 comments:
Adults often shy away from enjoying the outdoors when the temperatures drop. I would like to encourage you to dress head-to-toe in your winter gear (that's right, even snow pants) and get outdoors this winter! Here's a list of things you can do outdoors with your children once the snow starts to cover the ground.

Snow Painting
Reuse your dish detergent or condiment squeeze bottles by filling them with coloured water. Go to a clean, snowy "canvas" and paint a colourful picture with your bottles.

Blow Bubbles
Who said bubbles are just a summer activity? I love blowing bubbles in the winter. If it's cold enough the bubbles will freeze temporarily after you blow them.

A Winter Walk
Nature is marvelous and is entertainment for children of any age. Bundle up and go for a winter walk. There are icicles to be broken, snow drifts to jump into and animal tracks to be discovered!

Have A Scavenger Hunt
Make a checklist for your children of all the different things they could find while outside. Provide the list, clipboard and a pencil. Get your children to cross off items as they find them. Examples of scavenger hunt items could be; pine cones, animal tracks, birds, branches, berries, spruce trees, an icicle, etc.

Shovel Sidewalks
Get your children age-appropriate shovels and encourage them to help you shovel the sidewalks with you! You may be surprised at how much fun it could be (especially when followed up with a cup of hot cocoa).

Winter Sports
Sledding, skating, skiing, snowshoeing... there are so many sports to be enjoyed during the winter months. Pick one (or a few) and enjoy!

Build A Snow Fort
This is a great project to embark upon in the middle of winter. You may be surprised at how long this project could occupy little ones... and you'll find yourself hoping that the temperatures will stay cold enough to keep your children's work intact! There are some fantastic snow brick molds that can be used to make snow forts. Empty milk cartons or milk jugs also make great molds for snow forts.

Take Some Pictures 
Disposable cameras are awesome tools for entertaining young children. Get a few for your children and challenge them to take some winter photos! You may be surprised at what is photographed after you develop the film!

Snow Angels And Snow People
Don't forget the snow angels and building snow people (who said snow people had to be men)! If you're making a snow lady, you could add some old cosmetic jewelry for a bit of flair!


Go For A Picnic
Who said picnics are for warm weather only? Find a park that has a fire pit and roast some hot dogs and marshmallows. Don't forget the hot cocoa!

A Winter Kitchen
Set up a winter kitchen in your very own backyard. Provide pots, pans, muffin tins, spoons, rocks, pine cones, twigs, etc. You may be amazed at the delicious "treats" your children cook up in their winter kitchen!

Winter comes every year... instead of griping about it, get out and enjoy it! Before you know it, spring will be here once again! If you have any winter activities that you like to do with your children, please feel free to share them!

Click Here To Read More

Nov 27, 2011

Before We Enter The Holiday Season

2 comments:
We are less than a month away from Christmas. As we enter this season of giving and receiving. I would like to encourage you to take a moment and think about what's important in your life. Think about this world and all who have and those who have not. I pray that we can open our hearts to help and bless others. This year, I encourage you to define necessity.


If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered (Proverbs 21:13).




Photo Credit
This photo is all over the internet. There is no credit given to the person who created it. 
I did edit this photo (covered the boy's genitals) so that it could be posted on my family-friendly blog.
Click Here To Read More

Nov 26, 2011

A Dairy-Free Christmas: Ginger Snaps

1 comment:
I associate a variety of spices with Christmas... cinnamon, nutmeg, and of course, ginger. All of these are smells of Christmas. This dairy-free recipe is a great one. Delicious vegan ginger snaps!

Dairy-free ginger snap recipe. #recipe #dairy-free #cookie

I modified this wonderful recipe which I found on allrecipes.com.

Ginger Snaps

The Ingredients
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 Tbsp (heaping) ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
Egg replacer (enough for one egg)
1/4 cup organic molasses (trust me... the extra expense of organic molasses makes a huge difference to the taste of your cookies)
1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup cinnamon sugar

The Process
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir the mixture well and then sift a second time into another bowl.
** Sifting is CRITICAL to this recipe... do not skip these steps.**

Place the shortening into a different mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar, molasses, applesauce and then egg replacer.

Sift 1/3 cup of the flour mixture at a time into the shortening mixture. A soft dough will form.

Roll into 1 inch balls and then roll in the cinnamon sugar before placing on prepared cookie sheets. Space the balls of dough approximately 2 inches apart.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. The top of the cookies will be rounded and slightly cracked.

Cool the cookies on a wire rack and then transfer into an airtight container once completely cooled.

Enjoy!



Have you seen my other Dairy-Free Christmas recipes?
Check them out here:

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Shortbread Cookies


Click Here To Read More

Nov 25, 2011

{this moment: trimming the tree}

5 comments:
Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.



Click Here To Read More

Nov 23, 2011

Christmas Owls

No comments:
I like crafts but I LOVE Christmas crafts. That's why when I found this super cute owl ornament on Pinterest, I knew I just had to make them! The instructions are posted on Juicy Bits and are really easy to follow.



I decided to attach the owls to little cards that say, "Guess Hoo's Excited For Christmas?"... a little pre-Christmas gift for my loved ones.


I'm pretty excited about these little guys. They're simple, cute, and so easy to make!

Click Here To Read More

Nov 20, 2011

A Dairy-Free Christmas: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

3 comments:
My daughter is anaphylactic to dairy. She is also allergic to eggs and peanuts. Obviously, special occasions such as Christmas can be challenging with all the delicious cream, butter and dairy-filled treats floating around! 

This year, I decided to challenge myself to concoct some dairy-free recipes so that my daughter can partake in the Christmas goodies as well! Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing our recipe feats with you. So please, curl up by the fireplace (or light a candle), pour yourself a dairy-free beverage and join us on our journey of creating a dairy-free Christmas.

Dairy-free chocolate crinkle cookie recipe #food #recipe #dairy-free


This recipe has been adapted from the Chocolate Crinkle Cookie recipe I found on allrecipes.com.

The Ingredients
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup + 2 Tbsp white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Egg replacer (enough for two eggs)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup icing sugar

The Process
In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar and vegetable oil.

Beat in egg replacer and applesauce, then stir in the vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture.

Cover dough and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll dough into one inch balls and coat each ball in icing sugar before placing on prepared cookie sheets.

Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.

Let stand on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring onto wire racks to cool.

Enjoy!


Click Here To Read More

Nov 18, 2011

{this moment: shoveling}

10 comments:
Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Click Here To Read More

Nov 16, 2011

Why I Can't Do Drive-Thrus Anymore

5 comments:
I thought this posting was post-it note worthy.... Enjoy.












Click Here To Read More

Nov 14, 2011

A Butterfly Mobile For Baby

1 comment:
Now that my baby is four months old, she is spending a lot of time looking around and observing her environment. Since my baby is so "old" it seemed a little ridiculous to go out and purchase a mobile. Thus, I decided to make one of my own.

My plans came from this fantastic book:


This project doesn't require very much. All I needed was a lightweight willow wreath, some ribbon, pipe cleaners, thread and tissue paper.

First, I wrapped the ribbon around the wreath.


Then I cut butterfly shapes out of tissue paper and wrapped a pipe cleaner around the middle of each set of 2 butterflies.


I tied thread around each butterfly and attached them to the mobile. For interest, I staggered the lengths of thread.

I then attached ribbon at four sides of the wreath and tied them together at the top to hang from the ceiling.


I hung the mobile above my baby's change table. She instantly noticed it and she loves it! I think I may make another one to suspend over her crib.


Click Here To Read More

Nov 13, 2011

Childlike Faith

4 comments:

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it". (Mark 10:14-15)

As an early childhood educator, I have been contemplating exactly what does it mean to have childlike faith? As a mother and an early childhood professional, I have the wonderful privilege to be surrounded by children all day long. Today I thought I would share what childlike faith means to me and how one's walk with God can be more childlike.

Children are innocent.
One of the most beautiful aspects of childhood is the innocence that goes with it. Children are pure of heart. They come into this world pure of heart.

"Create in me a pure heart oh God and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10).

Children marvel in God's creation.
Have you ever seen a child delight in a ladybug crawling on a blade of grass or be overjoyed at the sight of a bird flying in the sky? The world beats us up. It doesn't take long for us to get caught up in life's challenges and lose that pure delight which God's creation gives to us.

God wants us to continually delight in the beautiful gift of nature that he has given to mankind.

Children are trusting.
Children put their trust in the adults in their life. They wholeheartedly believe what adults tell them to be true.

God wants us to trust Him. He wants the best for us. He loves us. He has plans for us. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).

Children rely on others to sustain them.
Children often need the adults in their lives to provide sustenance for them.

God wants us to rely on Him to provide for us. When we trust in Him, He will also provide for us.

Children are honest and bold.
A child speaks from the heart. They do not care what others think of them... they are bold.

God wants us to be honest and bold. He wants us to be honest about our walk with Him. He wants us to be bold and to speak freely and openly about His love for us.

Children ask questions.
Children have many questions. They want to know why the sky is blue, why some animals have two legs and others have four. They want to know why the stars sparkle and why snow falls from the sky. They are full of questions.

God wants us to ask questions. He wants us to turn to Him and ask Him for the answers to our mind's greatest queries.

Children are eager to learn.
Children are naturally eager to learn anything and everything. They are open and willing to receive instruction.

God wants us to be eager to learn from Him. He has so much to teach us, we just have to be receptive to His instruction.

Children are naturally full of faith.
Children will believe what you tell them to be true because you tell them it is so. They are naturally faith-filled. They believe without any convincing to do so.

God wants us to reacquaint ourselves with that natural faith. He wants us to believe in Him, to have faith that He loved us so much that He sacrificed His only son for us, so that we may have everlasting life.

Children know how to love.
Children are born with love in them. There are no conditions, they simply love for the sake of loving.

Children, like God, offer a pure and true love. They love without condition. God wants us to continue to demonstrate that love... both to Him and to everyone in this world.

Childlike faith. It's innocent, pure, and simple. I pray that we seek out and live that childlike faith... we are, after all, His children.


"Childlike Faith" - from an early childhood educator's perspective by @DeliberateMom  #faith

Win You Kid's Dream Craft Room

Click Here To Read More

Nov 12, 2011

I Would Like To Thank The Academy....

2 comments:
I just wanted to give you a quick update and let you know that The Deliberate Mom placed as #8 in the Alberta's Best Mama Bloggers competition! The top 10 blogs were published in Alberta's very own Urban Infant Magazine. There's some fantastic blogs on there... make sure to check out the link (the article can be found on page 18)... and look at the pretty pink button that they gave me! SWEET!

So actually, I don't need to thank the academy but I would like to thank you... my dear readers. It's your votes that got me these accolades. I couldn't have achieved this without you! Thank you for reading! Thank you for liking! Thank you for voting!


Click Here To Read More

Nov 11, 2011

{this moment: what's on your face}

10 comments:
Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Click Here To Read More

Nov 10, 2011

Simplify Your Life By Decluttering Your Mind

2 comments:
Often when people talk about simplifying their lives, it usually includes; decluttering closets, making less commitments, freeing up time, buying less, and minimalist decorating. But what about decluttering your mind?

I admit it, I am a project hound. I'm inspired frequently and easily. As a result, I have close to fifty unfinished projects around my house. I recently realized that these projects are not only cluttering my home but they are cluttering my mind.

Here's what I did to clear the nagging mind clutter....

1- I made a list of all the unfinished projects and tasks around my home. That way, it's out of my head and on paper.

2- I decided which tasks were important to me and which could be dropped. I made a commitment to drop at least 1/3 of the tasks. Just this act alone is liberating!

3- I immediately rid my home of any of the items related to the eliminated tasks so that I could not change my mind. Out of sight... out of mind.

4- I pledged to work on a task or project every day. I also committed to eliminating at least one item off of my list every week. It's amazing how just committing the time to tackle projects is over half the battle. Once I committed to doing a project, I would usually see it through within the same day!

5- I made a commitment to not add any new projects to the list until the list is at least 3/4 completed. Tough to do... I know, but I need to see that list getting smaller. It's motivating in itself!

It's been almost two weeks since I embraced this technique of simplifying. So far I have; ordered all of our honeymoon photos (it's been almost five years and I still haven't gotten them developed), finished assembling and ordered my wedding photo albums, finished my daughter's 2009-2010 Christmas photo book, designed and ordered my Christmas cards, updated my girls' digital journals and cleaned two cupboards.

I can't believe the difference this has made to my mind! These tasks were mentally overwhelming me! Every time I would open that cluttered cupboard I would think; I really should clean this out sometime soon. I would see the empty photo albums and think; One day I'll have our honeymoon photos in those albums. All these thoughts were weighing me down and cluttering my mind. I feel freer. Happier. Liberated.

Do you have mind clutter? Are there any projects weighing you down?

Click Here To Read More

Nov 9, 2011

That Three-Legged Dog

7 comments:
There's a strong and silent presence in our house. The other day I realized that he hasn't appeared in my blog very much but he is a big part of our lives.

Meet Maverick.


We adopted Maverick from the animal humane society several years ago. He is approximately 7-8 years old and he's a Malamute cross. We don't know what he's crossed with but our guess is German Sheppard. He weighs about 85 lbs and he is a tall dog. He is big... gigantic... which scares some people but he really is lovable.


He also has some celebratory status in our neighbourhood because he has only three legs.


Maverick was orphaned as a result of Hurricane Katrina. We don't know if his leg was lost as a result of the hurricane or if he was already a tripod prior to the storm. I remember the first day when we brought Maverick home... he put his chin on top of the stove and I freaked out thinking this dog was much too big for our three bedroom townhouse.

We decided to give him his own bedroom to stay in while we were at work. We put a large crate in his room with ample food and water. His first day alone at home, he busted out of the crate and destroyed the room that we had him in. I recall coming home and opening the door to his room.... The blinds were torn in half and hanging from the window. There was diarrhea everywhere... on the walls, the window, the floors, on him. The drywall of one wall had been demolished. Our bills and paperwork that were on a nearby shelf had been shredded to bits. And his crate had been destroyed by him busting out of it (to this day we still don't know how he broke out of that $200 crate).

I panicked thinking we had made the worst decision ever. We didn't get a new crate and he's been perfect ever since.


It didn't take long before I saw how well this gentle giant fit into our lives. Maverick is quiet. So quiet that he barks maybe once a month. He also has his domain... the landing of our stairwell. It's soft and warm and the perfect place to keep an eye on the front door and his family.


When my daughter was born, I was fearful of how this dog would behave around a baby. Maverick, of course, was as gentle as ever.


Now with our second child, he has taken on his baby/buddy role once again.


Lately I've been thinking a lot about Maverick's mortality. I can't imagine what our lives would be like without him. We know he's old for a big dog. Maverick has developed arthritis in his back hip. Unfortunately, this is the hip that does all the work to get him around. My husband and I fashioned a sling for him so he can get through his daily walks/bathroom breaks. His current medication seems to be helping with his pain, so we're savouring the remaining time we have with this devoted friend.

As I write this, I can't help but feel fortunate to have this faithful companion in our lives. He has brought us more joy than we could have ever expected. So if anything, I wish to share that if you want a family pet (whether it's a dog or a cat), please consider adopting. There are many lovely animals out there who just want a forever home... a forever family.


**November 6-12 is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. Consider making a donation of time or money to your local shelter.**
Click Here To Read More

Nov 7, 2011

Christmas Book Advent Calendar

6 comments:
I know, I know... we just got through Halloween and I'm already talking about Christmas! Well, I have to tell you about this project because maybe you'll want to do it too!

So, I have been recently inspired by the idea of a Christmas Book Advent Calendar. As I've shared previously, as Early Childhood Educators, my husband and I truly believe in the importance of fostering literacy. Hence, when I stumbled across this idea, how could we not do it!?

Every night, for the month of December, my daughter will unwrap a "new" Christmas book to read before bed. I didn't like the idea of wasting wrapping paper, so all of the books will be wrapped in fabric (this way we can also reuse the fabric year after year). We also made and laminated numbered tags so that we could reuse those as well.


As I embarked on this project, I discovered that we already had 15 Christmas books. I would only need nine more to make a complete set. So began the task of scouring used book stores and thrift shops for Christmas picture books. We now have more than enough books to countdown to Christmas.


Some of our favourite Christmas books include:

Counting Christmas (Classic Board Books) by Karen Katz
Merry Christmas, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
Merry Christmas, Curious George by Margaret and H.A. Ray
Have You Seen Christmas? by Vicki Howie and Caroline Pedlar
One Starry Night by Jan Godfrey and Honor Ayres
Christmas Tree by David Martin

We plan on putting a new book into the rotation every year. I love Christmas traditions... and I'm so excited to start our Christmas Book Advent Calendar!


Disclaimer
The books listed in this posting are Amazon affiliate links. Clicking these links and making purchases provides a small compensation to me and my family. Thank you for your support.

Click Here To Read More

Nov 4, 2011

{this moment: two moments}

7 comments:
Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

WAIT! This week I have to break the rules because I had two special moments that are equally precious to me.



Wishing you a wonderful weekend!


Click Here To Read More

Nov 3, 2011

Every Little Bit Helps

4 comments:
Hungry. Homeless. Sick. Scared. Alone.

I live a privileged life. I don't live in a mansion. I don't have a flush bank account. I don't have a jewelry box full of gems.

I do however, have a comfortable home; I always have food to eat and clean water to drink; and when the weather changes I have clothes to wear and a warm bed to sleep in.

I recognize that I am very fortunate... blessed. Thus, you could imagine my horror when this scene unfolded: I was changing the channels on the television when my daughter (who is almost four-years-old) walked into the room and started laughing at the boy on the World Vision commercial who was eating bugs.

"He's eating bugs! Ha, ha... that's gross."

I was sickened.

I suddenly realized that I have not done my job as a parent to let her know about those less fortunate. Naturally, she would think this is funny and that eating bugs is gross. She doesn't understand that there are so many people in this world who don't have even a fraction of what she has.

I took the opportunity to share this with her. I told her that this boy had no other choice but to eat bugs and rats. He doesn't have food like us. We watched the commercial a little bit more and I saw the understanding settle on her.

The following week my church had Samaritan's Purse Shoeboxes available for us to take and fill. I immediately knew this was a great opportunity for my daughter to learn more about those in need. Yes, it's an extravagance compared to the necessities of food and water but my daughter really understands the giving and receiving part of Christmas. She was excited when I presented the opportunity to her... to give a Christmas gift to someone who otherwise would not receive a gift on Christmas day.


My daughter decided that we needed to give our shoebox to a little girl her age. We embarked on a shopping trip and filled the shoebox to the brim. She drew a picture and we worked together on a letter to include with our gift.



I realize that this is not enough. Our efforts will need to be ongoing. For instance, when we go grocery shopping, I will get my daughter to pick out a couple items to donate to our city's food bank. Every grocery trip could reinforce the importance of helping others. Every little bit helps. I want my daughter to understand that she too lives a privileged life... and that she can make a difference.

How do you foster a spirit of caring and giving in your children?
"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV)
Click Here To Read More